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Prices of saffron from Spain, one of the major saffron producers of the world, continued to fly high thanks to US sanctions on Iran, another major producer.
08 Nov 2010
MADRID (Commodity Online) : Prices of saffron from Spain, one of the major saffron producers of the world, continued to fly high thanks to US sanctions on Iran, another major producer.

According to Spanish authorities, wholesale prices for Spanish saffron are at historic highs, up more than 300 euros per one kilogram since the last harvest, to around 3,500 euros per kg.

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However, the high prices also provides job for at least some of the millions of Spanish unemployed youths as saffron planters appointed them as pickers to separate the prized stems from saffron flowers.

The most expensive spice has always provided the subtle flavor to Spain's national rice dish paella and colored the central plains with a purple hue for centuries.

Besides paella, saffron is also used to cook pork and bean stews such as "fabada" and "olla podrida," or fish stew "zarzuela" and is popular in Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine.

Analysts said profits from the harvest, which once loomed much larger in the lives of locals, still help with life's extras.

About 20 years ago, some of La Mancha families grew saffron, but many left their plots to work in Spain's construction sector which boomed for more than a decade.

Soaring prices have made harvesting the delicate stem of the saffron flower from which the spice is made a backstop for professionals, laborers and the unemployed in the La Mancha region hit by the global financial crisis.

It takes about 400,000 stems to make up one kg of saffron, although only a few fragrant threads are needed to add that typically tasty yellow tinge to traditional paella.

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